- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2004

‘Celsius 41.11’

Celsius 41.11 is said to be the temperature at which the brain begins to die. A fitting title, therefore, one might argue, of a new film premiering last night at Loews Georgetown Cinema, revealing “the truth behind the lies of Fahrenheit 9/11” — liberal activist Michael Moore’s controversial film about President Bush‘s war on terrorism.

“I saw the impact of Fahrenheit 9/11, the impact it had on the public debate. It changed the dynamic of the debate … although it was a political commercial disguised as a movie,” “Celsius 41.11” executive producer David Bossie told Inside the Beltway before the premiere.

“So, I decided somebody must take this on; somebody has to have a response to this. It’s not right to let it sit out there by itself,” he said of “Fahrenheit 9/11.” “When lies are told consistently, over and over again, they become the truth in perception. I said ‘enough is enough.’”

Mr. Bossie, president of the grass-roots lobby Citizens United who previously headed the Center for Government Integrity, picked up the phone and called Hollywood heavyweight Lionel Chetwynd. He agreed to write and produce the film.

With the clock racing towards Election Day, the filmmakers are busy arranging national distribution, although “Celsius 41.11” already is showing on DVD and VHS.

Sold-out show

Rosie and Kelli O’Donnell have RSVP’d for the eighth annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest homosexual political organization in the country, to be held Oct. 8 at the Washington Convention Center.

The group sold 3,000 tickets to the event, which will feature appearances by 2004 Democratic presidential aspirant the Rev. Al Sharpton and actress Jessica Lange, who recently starred in the made-for-cable movie “Normal,” playing the role of a spouse whose husband decides to have a sex-change operation. Miss Lange will be presented with an HRC award for that acting experience.

Also to be honored by the HRC is Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly homosexual bishop in the Episcopal Church, while Rosie and Kelli O’Donnell will be feted for their “tireless advocacy on behalf of children.”

Last but not least, D.C. Council member David A. Catania, at-large Republican, will be presented with an HRC award “for his bold criticism” of President Bush.

Tranquil type

The 2004 campaign event we’ve all been waiting for is almost upon us — the first of three presidential debates between President Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry.

And if history is any judge of character, Mr. Kerry won’t get Mr. Bush’s goat when the two trade barbs tomorrow evening. Consider this excerpt from Kitty Kelley’s recent book on the president, an intriguing anecdote from the 1994 gubernatorial debate between Mr. Bush and then-Texas Gov. Ann Richards.

On page 548 of “The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,” we read:

“Throughout the 1994 campaign Ann Richards tried to trigger George’s volcanic temper. She chided him as ‘a jerk,’ ‘shrub,’ ‘little Bush,’ ‘Boy George,’ and ‘Baby Bush.’

“When he did not respond in kind, she began to look mean-mouthed and slightly desperate. George’s cousin Elsie Walker said she cowered behind the bathroom door as she watched their television debate, fully expecting George to blow sky-high each time Richards needled him. When he did not bite her head off and instead smiled amiably, Walker fired off a telegram to Barbara Bush: ‘What’s he on, animal tranquilizers?’”

Go figure

With the presidential debates at hand, the subject of potential gaffes by President Bush has returned to the spotlight.

“The media talking heads rattle off a series of past candidate’s verbal missteps and how one of these might doom the president’s re-election chances,” observes Bob Emmrich, a political observer in Cincinnati. “The problem is compounded by Senator [John] Kerry’s reputed ‘gift’ of speech.

“I am struck, through all of this, by the fact that, no matter how the president says things, everyone on earth knows exactly what he said and that he means every word of it. On the other hand, despite Senator Kerry’s eloquence, his defenders spend their time explaining what he said, when he said it, why he said it and often, what he actually meant.”

Fans of this column will enjoy John McCaslin’s new book, “Inside the Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans From Around the Nation’s Capital.” Mr. McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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